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Feeling Depressed & Traumatized; What Shall I Do?

25 September, 2022
Q I am so depressed. I can't even tell you how stressed I am, how much self-hatred I am filled with and how emotionally and psychologically traumatized I am. For the past 2 years, I have just been super sad and crying almost every day. I have very low self-esteem and wish for my non-existence and death. Even though I try my best and make lots of dua, it just keeps on getting worse. The reason that has led to this and the fact this keeps going, makes me feel like I am one of the people who Allah does not like or does not want to guide. I have exhausted all methods, of which all proved of no use. What should I do?

Answer

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamtulahi wa barakatuh,

It is clear that you are coming from a very dark place and feeling hopeless about finding a way out. May Allah make it easy for you and guide you out of the darkness and into the light.

Without details on what it is that you feel led you to this place, I am somewhat limited in the advice I can give, but in sha Allah I hope and pray there will be something here to at least support you on your journey.

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You have not specified the steps you have taken so far, but I’m going to outline the steps I would encourage you to take. 

Hopefully, there will be something new here that you have yet to try, or at least give you another perspective on something you may have resisted so far.

Pharmaco Treatment

Given the severity of your condition, I would first recommend getting pharmaceutical treatment. Whilst not ideal, it can be a good measure to take temporarily to help lift you out of the dark space enough to allow you to seek further help and to engage in it more than you would do otherwise. 

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Not everyone would agree to or like to take this approach, but sometimes, when things get really bad and there seems to be no way out, this can be the best first step to take until things are more stable.

Ask for Talk Therapy

When you see your doctor for this, they should also point you in the direction of getting some kind of talk therapy. Depending on your location, it will determine the availability of this. However, there are many online options these days, as I’m sure you are aware. Yo can try our life coaching services as well.

Considering this episode seems to have been triggered by something in particular and is causing ongoing problems for you for a length of time, talking therapy over a course of time will be the best option to help you get through this. 

It will take time to explore things with a counselor, but it will give you the best opportunity to go through things, get to the root of the issue, and explore ways to move forward that are best for you. 

Muslim Counselor or Islamic Support

Ideally, you would get this support from a Muslim counsellor who would be able to advise from the Islamic perspective. 

However, you can still get advice from a general counselor but can supplement it yourself with support from someone who may or may not be able to advise from a counseling perspective but will be able to offer suggestions from an Islamic perspective on dealing with depression. 

There are many ayats from the Quran and hadith that provide excellent sources of support during periods of depression that they will be able to highlight to you, such as: only testing those He loves, that with difficulty comes opportunity, and that every difficulty is an expiation for sins, to name a few.

Self-care

In addition to getting direct support for your depression, self-care is very important.

Understandably, it will be particularly challenging at this time and deleting self-care is even a symptom of depression itself, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do struggle with this.

However, taking baby steps will help. 

Start with the basics, such as making sure you are eating well and establishing a healthy sleep routine. You may find that you don’t have much appetite and that you’re suffering from insomnia, so this may be hard. 

Begin by making sure that the little you do eat is nutritious and healthy. To help with sleep, winding down an hour before bedtime, not using devices, and being aware of over stimulating activities can help. 

Exercise is a great way to encourage the body to release the chemicals that support mental wellbeing. Gentle exercise such as walking is a good place to start. It will also get you out and about. 

This might be something you do with someone else to get social interaction in too, which is also good for mental health. Perhaps you might even start a new hobby or take a course as something to provide some positivity. It will give you something consistent to work on and give you a sense of achievement.

Prayer as Self-Care

Most importantly, find self-care through continued prayer. I understand that you feel that this is not working for you at present, but keep at it. 

Continue to turn to Allah and be confident that He is listening. It may not feel like it, especially when you are feeling so low, but He is. 

With patience and perseverance, along with the steps above, in sha Allah you will begin to see and feel how Allah is hearing you. 

Turn to Him during the times we are told He is closest, such as the last third of the night. Cry to Him, take your problems to Him and plead for His mercy

As this becomes more comfortable for you, add in more voluntary prayers and fasting. Read the Quran more and continue to get closer to Him such that you will feel comfort in His remembrance deeply.

May Allah guide you out of your difficulties and bring you happiness and success in both this life and the next.

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)